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    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/15/2016 - On May 3rd, 2016, as part of an ongoing effort to learn more about celiac disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its first-ever draft recommendation statement, and draft evidence review.
    The statement basically says that there just isn't enough evidence to adequately weigh the benefits and harms of celiac disease screening in asymptomatic patients.
    This is an "I" recommendation that does not apply to patients with symptoms of celiac disease such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss.
    They basically call for "[m]ore evidence on screening for celiac disease…before the task force can recommend for or against screening people who don't have any signs or symptoms of the condition," said USPSTF member Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H., in a news release. "In the face of unclear evidence, physicians should use their clinical judgment when deciding whom to screen," Krist added.
    The USPSTF pointed out that their future recommendations for screening patients would benefit from research into:
    The effectiveness of targeted screening in patients at increased risk for celiac disease The accuracy of serological markers in asymptomatic patients, particularly those with risk factors The effect of treatment of celiac disease in asymptomatic patients who have positive blood tests for celiac disease, and The clinical outcomes such as changes in health and quality of life in people who are screened versus people who are not screened
    Read more at: AAFP.ORG.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 09/22/2016 - There really hasn't been much study done on diagnostic delays and factors associated with celiac disease, as well as on its potential impact on the course of disease.
    To get a better idea of the issue, a research team recently conducted a large systematic patient survey study among unselected celiac disease patients in Switzerland.
    The research team included SR Vavricka SR, N Vadasz, M Stotz, R Lehmann, D Studerus, T Greuter, P Frei, J Zeitz, M Scharl, B Misselwitz, D Pohl, M Fried, R Tutuian, A Fasano, AM Schoepfer, G Rogler, and L Biedermann. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Triemli Hospital Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland, IG Zöliakie, Basel, Switzerland, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Gastroenterology Bethanien, Zurich, Switzerland, the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Spital Tiefenau, Bern, Switzerland, the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, USA,and with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Lausanne - CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.
    They broke their study down into patient-associated delays, and doctor-associated delays. They found an average total diagnostic delay of 87/24 months (IQR 5-96), with a range from 0 up to 780 months, which was fairly equally divided between doctor delay and patient delay. Both mean/median total (93.1/24 vs. 60.2/12, p<0.001) and doctors' (41.8/3 vs. 23.9/2, p<0.001) diagnostic delay were significantly higher when comparing female vs. male patients, and interestingly patients' delay was similar even after an irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis.
    Patients with a diagnostic delay shorter than 2 years showed a substantially lower dependence on steroids and/or immunosuppressants, better substitution for any nutritional deficiency, and were more likely to be symptom-free between 6 and 12 months after diagnosis.
    Regular, substantial delays in diagnosing celiac disease, are linked to worse clinical outcomes, and this data shows that such delays are significantly longer in female patients.
    This increased diagnostic delay in women is the fault of doctors, not patients, in part because the delay statistics cannot be explained by a diagnosis of IBS prior to celiac disease diagnosis.
    Source:
     Dig Liver Dis. 2016 Jun 23. pii: S1590-8658(16)30475-3. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2016.06.016.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/12/2016 - Studies suggest that celiac disease affects about 0.5% to 1% of the North American population. There is no good screening data based on small intestinal biopsy performed during routine endoscopic evaluation.
    Researcher Hugh James Freeman, MD CM FRCPC FACP, of the Gastroenterology unit in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently set out to review the detection of adult celiac disease using duodenal screening biopsies over a 30-year period.
    Dr. Freeman reviewed data from patients referred between January 1982 and December 2011 for evaluation of gastrointestinal symptoms, requiring elective investigative upper endoscopic evaluation, and who underwent duodenal biopsies to determine whether changes of adult celiac disease were present. He found a total of 9,665 patients, including 4,008 male and 5,657 female, who underwent elective endoscopy and duodenal biopsy.
    Of these, 234, about 2.5%, showed celiac-associated physical changes, including 73 males (1.8%) and 161 females (2.8%). During the first 20 years, the number of biopsy-positive patients in five-year intervals progressively decreased, while over the next 10 years, the number progressively increased.
    Dr Freeman's results indicate that celiac disease is far more common in specialist practice than has been suggested by data from healthy populations using serological screening.
    Because endoscopic duodenal biopsy is so effective in spotting celiac-related damage, Dr. Freeman suggests it be routinely considered in all patients receiving elective endoscopic evaluation.
    Source:
    Can J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul; 27(7): 405–408. PMCID: PMC3956015

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 03/14/2017 - Recent studies of adult celiacs have suggested that complete, not just partial, mucosal recovery and healing is possible, but, in many cases, may take longer than is currently understood.
    Recently Dr. Hugh James Freeman of the Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, conducted a study to assess healing time in celiac patients. In this study, 182 patients (60 males, 122 females) referred for evaluation of symptoms, including diarrhea and weight loss, were selected only if initial biopsies showed characteristic inflammatory changes with severe architectural disturbance.
    All patients were treated with a strict gluten-free diet, and diet compliance was regularly monitored. Up to 90% or more of patients showed a complete mucosal response or healing, many within 6 months. However, most patients required up to 2 years for full healing and recovery to take place in the gut.
    In this evaluation, women in each of 4 different age ranges showed better mucosal response and healing than men, while elderly celiacs had lower rates overall. Such factors should be considered before labeling a patient with "non-responsive" disease.
    However, celiacs who are diagnosed later, start a gluten-free diet later, and who have inflammatory changes with persistent gut damage may be at increased risk for a later small bowel complication, including lymphoma.
    The overall good news here is that full mucosal healing can and does occur in most people with celiac disease. Some people may take longer to heal, but the evidence shows that most do eventually heal.
    Source:
    International Journal of Celiac Disease, 2017, Vol. 5, No. 1, xx. DOI:10.12691/ijcd-5-1-4

  • Recent Articles

    Christina Kantzavelos
    Celiac.com 07/20/2018 - During my Vipassana retreat, I wasn’t left with much to eat during breakfast, at least in terms of gluten free options. Even with gluten free bread, the toasters weren’t separated to prevent cross contamination. All of my other options were full of sugar (cereals, fruits), which I try to avoid, especially for breakfast. I had to come up with something that did not have sugar, was tasty, salty, and gave me some form of protein. After about four days of mixing and matching, I was finally able to come up with the strangest concoction, that may not look the prettiest, but sure tastes delicious. Actually, if you squint your eyes just enough, it tastes like buttery popcorn. I now can’t stop eating it as a snack at home, and would like to share it with others who are looking for a yummy nutritious snack. 
    Ingredients:
    4 Rice cakes ⅓ cup of Olive oil  Mineral salt ½ cup Nutritional Yeast ⅓ cup of Sunflower Seeds  Intriguing list, right?...
    Directions (1.5 Servings):
    Crunch up the rice into small bite size pieces.  Throw a liberal amount of nutritional yeast onto the pieces, until you see more yellow than white.  Add salt to taste. For my POTS brothers and sisters, throw it on (we need an excess amount of salt to maintain a healthy BP).  Add olive oil  Liberally sprinkle sunflower seeds. This is what adds the protein and crunch, so the more, the tastier.  Buen Provecho, y Buen Camino! 

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/19/2018 - Maintaining a gluten-free diet can be an on-going challenge, especially when you factor in all the hidden or obscure gluten that can trip you up. In many cases, foods that are naturally gluten-free end up contain added gluten. Sometimes this can slip by us, and that when the suffering begins. To avoid suffering needlessly, be sure to keep a sharp eye on labels, and beware of added or hidden gluten, even in food labeled gluten-free.  Use Celiac.com's SAFE Gluten-Free Food List and UNSAFE Gluten-free Food List as a guide.
    Also, beware of these common mistakes that can ruin your gluten-free diet. Watch out for:
    Watch out for naturally gluten-free foods like rice and soy, that use gluten-based ingredients in processing. For example, many rice and soy beverages are made using barley enzymes, which can cause immune reactions in people with celiac disease. Be careful of bad advice from food store employees, who may be misinformed themselves. For example, many folks mistakenly believe that wheat-based grains like spelt or kamut are safe for celiacs. Be careful when taking advice. Beware of cross-contamination between food store bins selling raw flours and grains, often via the food scoops. Be careful to avoid wheat-bread crumbs in butter, jams, toaster, counter surface, etc. Watch out for hidden gluten in prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist for help about anything you’re not sure about, or suspect might contain unwanted gluten. Watch out for hidden gluten in lotions, conditioners, shampoos, deodorants, creams and cosmetics, (primarily for those with dermatitis herpetaformis). Be mindful of stamps, envelopes or other gummed labels, as these can often contain wheat paste. Use a sponge to moisten such surfaces. Be careful about hidden gluten in toothpaste and mouthwash. Be careful about common cereal ingredients, such as malt flavoring, or other non-gluten-free ingredient. Be extra careful when considering packaged mixes and sauces, including soy sauce, fish sauce, catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc., as many of these can contain wheat or wheat by-product in their manufacture. Be especially careful about gravy mixes, packets & canned soups. Even some brands of rice paper can contain gluten, so be careful. Lastly, watch out for foods like ice cream and yogurt, which are often gluten-free, but can also often contain added ingredients that can make them unsuitable for anyone on a gluten-free diet. Eating Out? If you eat out, consider that many restaurants use a shared grill or shared cooking oil for regular and gluten-free foods, so be careful. Also, watch for flour in otherwise gluten-free spices, as per above. Ask questions, and stay vigilant.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/18/2018 - Despite many studies on immune development in children, there still isn’t much good data on how a mother’s diet during pregnancy and infancy influences a child’s immune development.  A team of researchers recently set out to assess whether changes in maternal or infant diet might influence the risk of allergies or autoimmune disease.
    The team included Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Despo Ierodiakonou, Katharine Jarrold, Sergio Cunha,  Jennifer Chivinge, Zoe Robinson, Natalie Geoghegan, Alisha Ruparelia, Pooja Devani, Marialena Trivella, Jo Leonardi-Bee, and Robert J. Boyle.
    They are variously associated with the Department of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease More Common in Women and Girls International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America; the Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Section of Paediatrics, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; and Stanford University in the USA.
    Team members searched MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Web of Science, Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Literatura Latino Americana em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS) for observational studies conducted between January 1946 and July 2013, and interventional studies conducted through December 2017, that evaluated the relationship between diet during pregnancy, lactation, or the first year of life, and future risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    They then selected studies, extracted data, and assessed bias risk. They evaluated data using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). They found 260 original studies, covering 964,143 participants, of milk feeding, including 1 intervention trial of breastfeeding promotion, and 173 original studies, covering 542,672 participants, of other maternal or infant dietary exposures, including 80 trials of 26 maternal, 32 infant, or 22 combined interventions. 
    They found a high bias risk in nearly half of the more than 250 milk feeding studies and in about one-quarter of studies of other dietary exposures. Evidence from 19 intervention trials suggests that oral supplementation with probiotics during late pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of eczema. 44 cases per 1,000; 95% CI 20–64), and 6 trials, suggest that fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of allergic sensitization to egg. GRADE certainty of these findings was moderate. 
    The team found less evidence, and low GRADE certainty, for claims that breastfeeding reduces eczema risk during infancy, that longer exclusive breastfeeding is associated with reduced type 1 diabetes mellitus, and that probiotics reduce risk of infants developing allergies to cow’s milk. 
    They found no evidence that dietary exposure to other factors, including prebiotic supplements, maternal allergenic food avoidance, and vitamin, mineral, fruit, and vegetable intake, influence risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    Overall, the team’s findings support a connection between the mother’s diet and risk of immune-mediated diseases in the child. Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce risk of eczema and allergic sensitization to food, respectively.
    Stay tuned for more on diet during pregnancy and its role in celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS Med. 2018 Feb; 15(2): e1002507. doi:  10.1371/journal.pmed.1002507

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/17/2018 - What can fat soluble vitamin levels in newly diagnosed children tell us about celiac disease? A team of researchers recently assessed fat soluble vitamin levels in children diagnosed with newly celiac disease to determine whether vitamin levels needed to be assessed routinely in these patients during diagnosis.
    The researchers evaluated the symptoms of celiac patients in a newly diagnosed pediatric group and evaluated their fat soluble vitamin levels and intestinal biopsies, and then compared their vitamin levels with those of a healthy control group.
    The research team included Yavuz Tokgöz, Semiha Terlemez and Aslıhan Karul. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, the Department of Pediatrics, and the Department of Biochemistry at Adnan Menderes University Medical Faculty in Aydın, Turkey.
    The team evaluated 27 female, 25 male celiac patients, and an evenly divided group of 50 healthy control subjects. Patients averaged 9 years, and weighed 16.2 kg. The most common symptom in celiac patients was growth retardation, which was seen in 61.5%, with  abdominal pain next at 51.9%, and diarrhea, seen in 11.5%. Histological examination showed nearly half of the patients at grade Marsh 3B. 
    Vitamin A and vitamin D levels for celiac patients were significantly lower than the control group. Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies were significantly more common compared to healthy subjects. Nearly all of the celiac patients showed vitamin D insufficiency, while nearly 62% showed vitamin D deficiency. Nearly 33% of celiac patients showed vitamin A deficiency. 
    The team saw no deficiencies in vitamin E or vitamin K1 among celiac patients. In the healthy control group, vitamin D deficiency was seen in 2 (4%) patients, vitamin D insufficiency was determined in 9 (18%) patients. The team found normal levels of all other vitamins in the healthy group.
    Children with newly diagnosed celiac disease showed significantly reduced levels of vitamin D and A. The team recommends screening of vitamin A and D levels during diagnosis of these patients.
    Source:
    BMC Pediatrics

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/16/2018 - Did weak public oversight leave Arizonans ripe for Theranos’ faulty blood tests scam? Scandal-plagued blood-testing company Theranos deceived Arizona officials and patients by selling unproven, unreliable products that produced faulty medical results, according to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter, whose in-depth, comprehensive investigation of the company uncovered deceit, abuse, and potential fraud.
    Moreover, Arizona government officials facilitated the deception by providing weak regulatory oversight that essentially left patients as guinea pigs, said the book’s author, investigative reporter John Carreyrou. 
    In the newly released "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup," Carreyrou documents how Theranos and its upstart founder, Elizabeth Holmes, used overblown marketing claims and questionable sales tactics to push faulty products that resulted in consistently faulty blood tests results. Flawed results included tests for celiac disease and numerous other serious, and potentially life-threatening, conditions.
    According to Carreyrou, Theranos’ lies and deceit made Arizonans into guinea pigs in what amounted to a "big, unauthorized medical experiment.” Even though founder Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos duped numerous people, including seemingly savvy investors, Carreyrou points out that there were public facts available to elected officials back then, like a complete lack of clinical data on the company's testing and no approvals from the Food and Drug Administration for any of its tests.
    SEC recently charged the now disgraced Holmes with what it called a 'years-long fraud.’ The company’s value has plummeted, and it is now nearly worthless, and facing dozens, and possibly hundreds of lawsuits from angry investors. Meantime, Theranos will pay Arizona consumers $4.65 million under a consumer-fraud settlement Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich negotiated with the embattled blood-testing company.
    Both investors and Arizona officials, “could have picked up on those things or asked more questions or kicked the tires more," Carreyrou said. Unlike other states, such as New York, Arizona lacks robust laboratory oversight that would likely have prevented Theranos from operating in those places, he added.
    Stay tuned for more new on how the Theranos fraud story plays out.
    Read more at azcentral.com.